Review of the Big Bag Bed Pots, Planters & Containers

Big Bag Bed: Product Review


 

Big_Bag_Bed

The bed comes folded in in a cardboard sleeve. Photo courtesy of the manufacturer.Raised beds can be a wonderful addition to a garden, particularly when you’re looking at poor or rocky soil that doesn’t seem to support much in the way of plant life. But putting in a raised bed can be hard work involving carpentry skills, masonry, or heavy lifting.

So why not try something a little different? Like a fabric raised bed…

The Big Bag Bed is basically a large bag with a flat bottom made out of geotextile (you’ll often see it used as landscape fabric). Created by High Caliper Growing, the makers of Smart Pots, it’s intended for use as a container garden on any flat surface.

Related Review: Compost Sak (great for composting but you can also use it as a planter)

Assembling the Big Bag Bed

If you can put a fitted sheet onto a bed inside your home, you can use the Big Bag Bed out in your yard. Take it out of the cardboard sleeve it comes in, unfold it, and get ready to fill it.

Like a fitted sheet, the bag bed is made out of fibers. The difference is in the type of fibers; the Big Bag Bed is manufactured out of a custom, non-woven, geotextile material, rather than woven strands of cotton.

Big bag bed in canada

In Quebec, Canada I visited a rooftop garden that used the bag beds because they could easily be emptied and folded for winter storage.

Placement is Important

The Original Big Bag Bed is, well, big. Once unfolded in my yard it was bigger than I thought even though I had seen them in use on a rooftop garden in Quebec City, Canada.

The size was a problem for me because we live on a slope and finding a level area to lay the Big Bed out on was a challenge. I had to level a space for it. If you have a flat yard this should not be a problem.

Be sure you have the bed where you want it, because once it is full of soil you will not be able to easily move it. (It’s like a water bed that way.)

bag bed growing veggies

The bed has ample growing space for a large garden. Here I am not using it to it’s full potential.

Filling the Big Bag Bed

The manufacturer states right on the package the actual size, telling us that the bed is approximately 100 gallons and holds 13.7 cubic feet of mix. I had no clear idea of what that meant, and toddled off to the nursery to buy mix, forgetting to write down the the number of cubic feet needed. Two bags of container blend were a nice start, but it needed another trip to the store for two more – a total of four big bags of potting soil.

bag bed wall showing leaching salts

The fabric is stiff enough to hold it’s shape as long as it has enough soil in it.

Using the Bed

The Bag Bed works well for the Southwestern winter garden. I had arugula, sorrel, scallions, and a winter greens mix, all densely planted and growing quite well.

Then one night I heard a noise in the yard. A herd of javalina were positively delighted with my garden. I saw three of those critters  in the Bag Bed fighting each other over the salad bar. I chased them away and the bed suffered no major harm, which is more than I can say for the two ceramic pots of kale they knocked over and broke in their nocturnal jaunt. If the Big Bag Bed is tough enough to withstand an onslaught of javelina, it can probably stand up to anything you can throw at it.

javalina eying a Big Bag Bed

Javalina weigh around 75 pounds each and three of them dancing in the bed did not harm it.

Size Matters

The Bag Bed is available in three sizes; Original (50 inches in diameter), Junior (36 inches across) and Mini (24 inches in diameter). The Original and Junior are 12 inches tall, the Mini only 8 inches.

If I had it to do over again, I would opt for a Junior. Why? Well, I’m getting older and less flexible, and the center of the bed was just a tad out of easy reach. Also, a Junior should grow enough for our empty nest household.

basil growing in Big Bag Bed

It was a tad difficult for an aging back to reach for the center of the bed to harvest.

Additional Comments

It’s important to remember that fiber is porous. Moisture will weep out the sides of the Big Bag Bed and when you water it you’ll find that water seeps out the bottom.

In a humid environment, this could mean moss and liverworts might grow on the outside. Here in the Southwest it means that the calcium in the water will leach out the sides. Calcium leaching happens with ceramic posts as well, but if you are a neat freak this may bother you.

In the six months I used the Big Bag Bed the leaching was very little, but after two years it will be quite noticeable. Either way, these are surface issues and do not harm the plants inside the bed.

bag bed canada moss_web

The porous fabric of the bag bed offers a foothold for moss in a humid environment.

bag bed calcium crop_5525_web

The porous fabric of the bag bed will show a calcium build up over time from the water in the arid Southwest.

IMG_5526

Calcium build-up is a common issue with hard water, even ceramic pots suffer.

Recommendation

bag bed in situ

The bag bed is ideal for the gardener that has poor growing conditions, such as clay or rocky soils, or a sloped yard.

5 Shovels Rating from Gardening Products Review like this raised planter, and I intend to continue using it – with a “but.”

Here in the arid Southwest my plants have issues growing in fabric containers in the heat of summer. The sides of the containers are black and get too hot, plus the fabric allows the moisture in the soil to evaporate too quickly in our single digit humidity.

That said, this is a dandy container for the winter garden in hot climates – from October to April. The vegetables we grow in the winter garden are primarily the shallow rooted leafy greens, just fine for the shallow bag bed. In the northern states and Canada they only use the bag beds in summer so I guess it balances out.

Editor’s Note: I’ve used the Big Bag Bed for several years in Connecticut where I left it outside during the winter filled with potting mix that froze solid. It was no worse for wear the next spring.

Where to Buy It

You can buy the Big Bag Bed directly from the manufacturer where the Original (large) Big Bag Bed is $39.95 plus shipping, the Junior is $24.95 and the Mini is $14.95. It’s also available in many neighborhood hardware stores and you can find it for about $2 less on Amazon.

You can also get the Big Bag Bed in a fun purple color for roughly 10 dollars more.

pot pals on edge of container

One thing you can’t have with the fabric sides are pot rim buddies.

And now over to you – Have you tried a raised outdoor planter? How did it work? Let us know in the comments below!

And if you liked this review, please [OptinLink id=1] sign up for our weekly newsletter [/OptinLink] with reviews and helpful articles.

Disclaimer – GPReview would like to thank High Caliper Growing for giving us a free Big Bag Bed to review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review and we received no compensation for writing it. All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.

Please note that the Amazon links (and only the Amazon links) above are affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase products through these links, GPReview will make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) that helps to support this website and our gardening product reviews. Thank you!

Other Container Reviews

SimGarSIMGAR
VegTrugVEGTRUG
Living Wall from GroVertLIVING WALL FROM GROVERT
GrowBoxGrowBox
Elevated Cedar PlanterElevated Cedar Planter
Related Reviews

Disclaimer – GPReview would like to thank the manufacturer/distributor for giving us a free sample to review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review and we received no compensation for writing it. All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.

Please note that the Amazon links (and only the Amazon links) above are affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase products through these links, GPReview will make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) that helps to support this website and our gardening product reviews. Thank you!

3 Comments on Big Bag Bed: Product Review

  1. Carmen Ross

    It’s very informative, however i live in Phoenix Arizona and i have been waiting for someone to give me thoughts on how to do gardening. I have been reading a lot and will apply what i’ve learned . Thanks.

Share Your Thoughts!